Stress - what is it?
Everyday we are faced with decisions. Some decisions we can make quickly as we understand
and relate the information from past experiences. Other decisions may take longer as our mind
wrestles with new ideas, varying possibilities and their respective outcomes.
Our brain is continually processing information night and day and, for some, this can disturb our
nights’ sleep. The conscious rational part of our brain absorbs; assesses; reasons; stores and
dismisses information. The information you perceive to be true, relevant and interesting filters
down into the subconscious mind. It becomes the bed of your emotions and motivates your
During our lifetime we build up a store of information. This is mainly through our own experiences,
mistakes or general senses and intuition/gut feeling. Learning from others such as our parents,
teachers and friends further builds on this store, some of which is absorbed out of conscious
As we tend to live in our heads, it’s important to understand where our thinking and emotions lead
us- to understand how they can influence our day to day behaviour. We may not understand what
motivates or demotivates us, but sometimes we feel something is holding us back. Limited
understandings, perceived negative experiences and wrong decisions can leave us fearful and
feeling stuck. It can weigh us down, block our thinking, creativity and lead to stress.
Stress can be positive, and in some cases it can motivate us to achieve things, whether it’s helping
us managing the demands of home/ family life or being productive in the work place.
Negative stress can arise when facing the unknown as it’s the body’s natural reaction to change
and feeling under pressure. It can manifest as mental, emotional or physical strain which can
develop into fear. During the recent Covid-19 pandemic, many people experienced increased
anxiety and panic. Set up for survival, the body reacts when it feels threatened, whether that threat
is real or imagined. It’s important to recognise and deal with stressful situations when they arise, as
they can affect our mood, our body and our interaction with others. Too much can make us feel
anxious and irritable and affect our self-esteem. It’s important to identify the causes of stress as, if
left unchecked, it can lead to illness.
Some of the ways that you can support yourself during stressful times is through physical exercise.
Twenty to thirty minutes of activity will release endorphins which reduce pain, boost your mood and
increase energy levels. Taking a walk and grounding yourself in nature, listening to some relaxing
music and doing breathing exercises can calm your nervous system.
If you have been experiencing stress for a prolonged period which you feel is affecting your day to
day life or causing you distress, it’s healthy for us to consider professional support.
Please get in touch for help on this and other issues.